Report: Rising Severity of Illness Among Medicare Patients Treated in EDs

Today’s Medicare patients are sicker and have more chronic illnesses, and are driving up the costs of emergency department (ED) care, according to a new report by the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Between 2006 and 2010, the severity of illness of beneficiaries receiving services in the ED increased, as did the rate of use, driving up the intensity of ED care and resources. The report, based on an analysis of Medicare claims data conducted by The Moran Company, outlines a number of factors that are contributing to this trend, including the following:

  • Medicare beneficiaries receiving ED care are sicker than they used to be when they arrive;
  • The rate of use of ED services by Medicare beneficiaries is rising;
  • Patient care is shifting from the inpatient hospital to the ED;
  • Use of the ED by dual-eligible patients (those who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare) is rising
  • EDs are serving more Medicare patients with behavioral health diagnoses

Source: American Hospital Association (AHA), May 8, 2013

2012 Healthcare Benchmarks: Reducing Avoidable ER Visits

2012 Healthcare Benchmarks: Reducing Avoidable ER delivers actionable information from 134 healthcare organizations on their efforts to reduce inappropriate ED visits, and is designed to meet business and planning needs of hospitals, health plans, physician practices and others by providing critical benchmarks that show how the industry is working to reduce avoidable hospital emergency department visits.

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